Washington Mutual Checking Accounts

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No Fraud Protection or Competent Customer Service
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GEORGIA -- I opened a Washington Mutual checking account about 6 years ago when I moved to Georgia. I was impressed with the "free" checking and the "new" way they did business. Until recently I had every reason to believe they were the company they said they were. Then I had a problem.

On December 12, 2007 my purse was stolen out of my car. The thieves were quick to use my debit card but only were able to spend about $200 before I cancelled the card. When I realized my purse was stolen I immediately called WAMU and cancelled my debit card and stopped payment on the checks that were in my purse. I had no reason to believe that the thieves would be able to do much with them plus I was told there would be a flag of some sort on my account since I reported it stolen.

I reported the fraudulent activity the day it happened and it took 12 business days for me to get credit while they investigated. Although it was a ridiculously long time and it was inconvenient since Xmas was around the corner, I was actually OK since it wasn't a large amount and I thought everything had been caught.

Then- on January 11th I noticed two large withdrawals from my checking account. They were not made through the ATM but at two different branches. The withdrawals pretty much emptied my account. You can only imagine my horror. I immediately called customer service to find out what was going on. I was told that I would have to call the actual branches where the withdrawals were made to talk about possible fraud. I was annoyed but agreed.

I called the first branch and spoke to a teller. I told him about the theft that occurred in December and he said that he would freeze my account from all further transactions and directed me to Risk Operations. When I asked the teller how something like this could have happened when my debit card was inactivated, he said the person who made the withdrawals probably looked just like me and used my debit card and license as proof of identification. Umm suspicious but I let that go.

So I talked to someone in Risk Operations and she says she will request the withdrawal slips from both branches and start an investigation. While she was talking to me she asked me in a very rude manner, "when you purse was stolen why didn't you just close the account?". Now just imagine how upset that comment made me when I'm looking at my only bank account that is practically empty; on a Friday afternoon; two kids; and some creeps driving around the city with my license and money!! Needless to say, I told her why I did not close the account and that I was assured that there would be an alert on my account since my info was reported stolen.

After that weekend I went to a branch to open a new account. The process was annoying. At first the tellers acted like they didn't understand what I needed them to do, then they didn't know how to get the hold lifted from my old account to get the few dollars I had left. I asked to close my account and was told I couldn't because I had two pending claims (the one from December and the one from January). I said, "OK" and verified several times that NO transactions would come through the old account. Everyone said there would be no more activity on the old account.

I also asked the branch manager how my account could have been compromised. He said it may have been someone who went through the drive through. He told me that the customers have to show two forms of ID and the ATM/Debit card can serve as one of them. {WHAT??]

In the meantime I had been calling customer service to get updates on when my funds would be credited or returned. I was consistently given the run around. Every time I called, the reps I spoke to didn't have a clue what I was talking about. Every time they said they had no record on my account of the January fraud. I spoke to managers and reps all who gave me conflicting information.
During this time I had to go into branches to handle business. On one occasion I went to one of the branches where the fraud occurred. Rather than get into the details of the visit I'll give highlights:

1) None of the tellers knew what to do.

2) The branch manager did not listen to me when I told him what the situation was.

3) Rather than calling customer service the branch manager called the branch that put the original hold on my account to ask them why they did that

4) The branch manager gave ME a hard time about my ID (duplicate driver's license)

5) When asked how my account could have been compromised at his branch the reply was: "You only need one form of ID to make withdrawals and they gave us your license. Since they went through the drive through we could not verify ID because we cannot see people in the drive through". To which I said, "so you don't verify ID when you go through the drive through?", his response, "No". [are you kidding?]

On January 22th I spoke to a rep who again couldn't find any record of the January fraud but she would start the process for me. She told me I had to request a copy of the original withdrawal slips. These slips would be sent to me at my home. Then I would have to take those into both of the branches and try and get the money back that way. That made no sense to me but she insisted that was the only way to resolve the matter.

On January 25th a charge appeared in my old account for $10.00 for copy fee. When I called to complain I was told it was an error and actually it was from them investigating my case. In any case the charges were removed but it proved that they were working very slowly on my case and that they were allowing transactions on my account. At that time a manager told me that two forms of ID are needed to make a withdrawal and the ATM/Debit card is not considered ID.
The next week they allowed an electronic withdrawal to go through my account. This caused an overdraft and an subsequent fee. I called, got the run around, and then spoke to yet another person who didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I was told to go into a branch and transfer funds into my account to cover the charges and that it would never happen again.

Finally on January 30th the full amount into my new account. That was a full 2 1/2 weeks!

Going through all this I realized that WAMU has serious training and policy issues. They are not concerned with the security of our accounts, don't care about providing good service, and hire idiots. Other banks in my area pledge to return money lost to fraud within 3 business days to your account. They may charge more in fees but to know my money is safe and will come back to me in a reasonable time if stolen is 100% worth it. I will NEVER bank with WAMU again.
     
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chow on 2008-02-08:
Fraudulent activity by bank is not something new,they are very good at it. After I closed my account several years ago,I still receive phising email from the bank every week to confirm my account,it is quite a slick trick.
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Checking accounts and fraud
Posted by on
CALIFORNIA -- I don't think I have ever really truly felt disappointment in any of the banks I've been with until now - with Washington Mutual. Years ago, I remember starting out with Bank of America and then moving to Wells Fargo because I always had some sort of a complaint about their outrageous fees or customer service. Eventually, I landed with Washington Mutual because of their "Free Checking" and being a college student, the word "Free" always meant a good thing, right?

So about a month ago, on a Sunday in November, there was an outrageous amount withdrawn from my checking account, using my debit card, or so I was told by a WAMU representative. Luckily, I must have caught it the day it had been done because it hadn't posted to my account yet. So I called the 1-800 number and talked to someone, who I guessed was not located at a U.S. call center since she had a very thick accent. I discussed my problem with her and calmly told her that I had not charged anything that huge to my account and that would they please block it from going through to keep my account from being extremely negative and me getting charged with an overdraft fee. Of course, the woman says "no, we can't do that. We have to wait for it to post..." I couldn't even file a dispute about it at that time! Basically she told me that I had to go for a few days with a -$900 in my checking account. I was furious! This wasn't a credit card, where I couldn't care less about the balance while the company did their investigation - this was cash that I had to live on to pay bills, eat, buy groceries or even pay my rent!! And they couldn't do a damn thing about it except wait for the fraudulent charge to go through?!

After the initial shock and frustration wore off, I walked into the nearby branch the next day and spoke to the branch manager. He didn't really tell me anything different - I have to wait for the amount to post, sign an affidavit the next day when the amount should have posted and then they'd go ahead with the investigation. He closed my current debit card and issued me a new one. About a week later, the mysterious pending charge went away - probably because there wasn't enough funds for it to go through! - and I thought OK, maybe they fixed it or it really was some sort of mistake on the merchant's side. I even though that may be WAMU was trustworthy, after all. By this time, I had received my new debit card - minus its PIN number, and it was right on time because I was due for a week-long vacation!

So what happens when I come back from vacation and try to cash in two refund checks I had received in the mail in one of their branches?? Can you imagine this - strolling into the branch to cash in checks right before work, thinking that you're only intent is to cash in the checks to have cash in your pocket since you can't access your account through the ATM. I get up to the teller window and she even tells me to sign the checks but a minute later she says that there was a restraint put on my checking account! The teller had to make some inquiry calls. So I've already waited about fifteen minutes in line and if I didn't leave right then I would be very late to work. After about three minutes that the teller was put on hold, I tell her "I'm sorry, but I can't just wait here while you're waiting on the phone because I have to go to work. I'll just come back tomorrow." And I left with my two uncashed checks and only about three dollars in cash in my pocket.

I returned the next day, about two hours before I was due at work to give myself plenty of time in the bank. I ended up speaking to the branch manager who told me the same thing. ACH put a restraint on my account because it had been compromised and that they couldn't do anything about my money in the account until they took off the restraint, which wouldn't be during the weekend. So he compromised with me - he would open a new account and cash my refund checks so I'd have money for the weekend. And that I just had to return on Monday to transfer my money from the old account. I said OK.

On Monday, I went back. Honestly, I was starting to get sick of having to go back to the bank almost everyday just to straighten out my account. I told the person helping me that I wanted to leave some money in my old account because I had an automatic debit going through for a bill. So she says OK, ends up transferring everything into the new account and tells me that there's a "penny pay-through" that would allow any automatic payments in the old account pull funds from the new account. And I said OK because it made sense to me. I asked her if I was able to use my new debit card and she assures me it does work - it is linked to the new account. Then I finally leave the branch, thinking "finally, it's settled, I have a new account that works." And what happens to me at a department store when I try to buy a simple gift certificate?? The card doesn't work. I try to pay with a new check I was issued when I opened up the new account. That check doesn't work as well! I end up paying with cash and going back to the bank branch. I told them neither the card nor the check worked. What the hell was I supposed to do?? They still assured me that the card should work and that the checking account was active - maybe it took a day for the systems to update. Great, so I decided to pull out a bunch of cash for just in case, leaving a good amount in the account for my automatic charges.

The next day I decided to check my balance to see if my automatic payments went through. One went through for my cellular phone payment. But to the old one where there was no longer any money in it. My question - what the heck happened to the penny pay through crap?? So I had to take care of this. Luckily, I was able to transfer funds back from my new account to cover the balance but I definitely refused to pay the overdraft fee that they were trying to charge me. Why should I pay for it when they obviously know I have money with them and it was them that made me transfer everything over in the first place instead of leaving some money in the old account. I had to talk to about three or four different people before I finally got to a supervisor who was able to credit me back for that overdraft fee.

My only problem left was the most important preauthorized payment I had that should have gone through did not. Another WAMU customer representative told me that the payment had been bounced back to the company instead of pulling funds from the new account. So instead of calling the 1-800 number again I call my branch instead and spoke to the bank manager who had opened up my new account. He was unable to reverse the blocked payment but he offered to pay any fees the company charged. After I called the company they said they couldn't set up another automatic debit - it was either a MO, cashier's check or a wire transfer, which all of them costs a certain fee, plus whatever fee the company charged me for the unsuccessful debit.

It was like one problem after another after another. I didn't even get a single call from WAMU to notify me of the "restraint" they put on my account. They're online banking says they'd send an email. But if you're going to put a restraint on a person's checking account which would you prefer - contact via email or via phone? I would prefer to be notified by phone where an actual person explains to me WHY. OK, I understand it's a means to solve the compromised account but they should really let you know ahead of time and not just do it so I find out when I walk into the branch and all I'm trying to do is cash in a simple check.

This situation just makes me feel uncomfortable with this bank and completely unable to trust WAMU with my hard-earned money or automatic bill payments. It's just a huge, huge inconvenience for me to pay extra fees just to wire a payment because the payment of the month was bounced back - courtesy of WAMU, when I was told - assured - that it should have gone through after opening and transferring money into a new account.

The bottom line? I'm saying good-bye to the bank I was so loyal to for 6 years. I'm so extremely disappointed in your services and don't think I could ever do business with you again.

By the way, did you know that many of WAMU's call centers are located in the Philippines?? Sometimes it's even hard to understand the person you're talking to because their English is limited. It's true. I found the information online.
     
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tnchuck100 on 2006-12-19:
Well, you have been through the worst of the worst banks in America. Things should get better now. If you can find a credit union you will be far better off than with any of the big banks. One thing that seems to be a common problem is letting companies auto-debit your account. If anything goes wrong, such as an unauthorized debit, these auto-debits snowball out of control. Personally, I will NEVER authorize an auto-debit. Let these companies send you a statement. Review it for accuracy. Then pay it by check or online. YOU control the amount and the time.
*Brenda* on 2006-12-19:
I never do autodebits either. I do pay online but I do the one time payment only. I always make sure I print my receipt too, that way if any problems arise I have receipts.
trumania on 2007-03-09:
Sounds like you just got a little carried away with the unauthorized charge. From what you're describing it sounds like a merchant error. The merchant entered the amount to be charged but the transaction did not complete it's processes so you did not get charged for the transaction. They are correct that you can not 'prevent' a debit card transaction from coming through. You have to wait to dispute the charge when it posts to the account.

As far as the ACH restraint there must have been something
behind that.

And I can understand how you would rather receive a phone call from the bank about a hold they put on your account. However, you're a college student... you should have some intelligence. Could you imagine how much it would cost Washington Mutual to have enough personnel to contact customers every time a hold was placed on the account? The direct result would be increased fees! Or they would charge you some "Manual Hold Notification" fee!

Simply put, a bank with millions of customers can not afford and does not have the man power to call every single customer about those holds. Just calling 1% of the customer base would be more than 70,000! customers! Say it took at least five minutes for each call (you know it would probably be more to 10 minutes because you would not simply say "oh okay do what you can") that would be close to 6,000! hours of work! That is 750 days of work! More than two years! WaMu would need to hire 750 employees to complete that work in one day as you would like it. Someone has to pay for their salary.

Anyway... perhaps you havn't heard this expression but you should remember it.

"There is no such thing as a free lunch".
dems on 2007-03-09:
Whoah. You must be a WAMU employee or something or else you've never had to deal with something like this. (Good for you.) The bottome line is I trusted them with the money I earn everyday and they should have a much better system of doing crap like this. And guess what the same exact thing happened to my friend except much worse. Someone in other country was buying thousands of dollars worth of plane tickets and since she had more than $6,000 in her account she was hit more than me. And it happened within the same week. Are you telling me that was another "merchant account" mistake?? No, I don't think so. Then she was told that WAMU's system was hacked and many other peoples' information got out.

Then here's another situation: the new account I had to open? And stupidly decided to keep for emergencies? I opened it IN PERSON with the BRANCH MANAGER then last month I found out that they closed it. Just like that. No notification - letter or phone call or otherwise. I find out later that they did that because they didn't have a signature card on file?? Are you going to tell me that they are
still justified in doing that? That's ridiculous! I'm just glad that I didn't keep my paychecks going through to that account because then I would be screwed all over again.

Let me just say that I have just kept that account closed. Good riddance. I got my refund back in person. And I'm so much happier with the account I opened with a credit union three months ago. They are just overall better than WAMU.

Oh, and by the way, I'm no longer a college student and I don't think I said I was. And it is a good thing I'm not because if I still was and this kind of thing happened to me - my life would be worse because college students need more to live by. And it's not like WAMU is this small company - they are huge. Lots of people trust them. They make lots of money now than they did some years ago. They should be spending a little more on their security and customer service training instead of other things.

Yeah, there is no such this as a free lunch with WAMU. Definitely I'll remember that.
prcalmb4storm on 2007-03-11:
Autodebits are a big mistake. The one time payments are better you have more control that way in the event that you want to edit the amounts or date.
trumania on 2007-04-01:
You're an idiot.

I've had to deal with fraud, but I've used common sense in taking appropriate action to prevent further damage to my accounts. There are idiots out there who lose their debit cards and won't report them lost for days or weeks and then wonder 'how come there is fraud, why didn't my bank stop it?" I always ask them "did you tell them you lost the card" and they ALWAYS go... "well.. after a few days I did".

And for the record I never said what happened to you WAS anything. I said it sounded like. Meaning, it's a possibility.

Also, who told your friend Washington Mutual's "system" got hacked? Whoever they are, they're an idiot too. If Washington Mutual's system got hacked it would be publicized in every major newspaper in the country. The only things I've seen about WaMu's system's being hacked are peoples reports that "someone told them". I've never heard of WaMu being compromised.

I can see confusion about it. Merchants have been compromised which makes it seem like it's the banks fault. But banks cannot control what information merchants retain.

Last year I believe, TJX Companies, Inc. was compromised. 45 million people had their debit/credit card information stolen! If someone who was a victim was a WaMu customer does that mean WaMu's systems were compromised? No.

Your friend, did she lose the card? Was her purse misplaced one day? Did she ever fall for phishing scams? Did she give her account information to anyone she didn't know had a good reputation? If she did, can you say... fraud? The bank cannot control who you giver your information to (regardless if your friend is actually at fault).

Most people I know seem to have the impression that they can give out their information freely and if it's a scam they don't' worry about it because the bank will take care of it. Um... no, that's not how it works.

As for why your account was closed the signature card... 30 days is generous. Don't take your anger out on my. If the manager screwed something up you should have gone to talk to him and demanded it be reopened. Did you ask any questions after it was closed? Probably not, so it's not even like you wanted the account open any longer to begin with.

You think the bank should spend more money on security because someone told your friend the bank was compromised (no evidence at all) I wonder who told that person.

And no, it's not "there is no such this as a free lunch with WAMU"

It's "There is no such tihng as a free lunch with anything".
dems on 2007-04-02:
Hey, Dude, BACK OFF. You're the idiot. Why are you even expressing your love and devotion for WAMU this much... what... are you the CEO or some Executive of the bank? Or maybe you're a huge stockholder in WAMU and don't want people to believe what I have to say about my experiences with WAMU so that they'd keep their business with them?? I don't need you telling me BS about that stupid bank. I DID EVERYTHING THAT WAS NECESSARY TO FIND OUT WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THAT ACCOUNT (QUESTIONS AND ACTIONS IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER) and after everything that I went through that trouble WAS NOT WORTH IT. Therefore, I did not even want to reopen that account.

First of all, it was a WAMU REPRESENTATIVE who told my friend that WAMU got hacked. You saying that they lied? Then that just means that WAMU doesn't give their reps proper training, doesn't it? For all the money that that bank makes, they should be able to swing for some sort of training program. Obviously they don't.

I'm sure that you are just sO smart and know EXACTLY what to do in these types of situations. well then GOOD FOR YOU. I'm glad you don't run into BS with WAMU or any other bank -- CONGRATULATIONS, you MUST be one of the lucky ones. We're all happy for you.
WJD on 2007-12-03:
You think you have Washington Mutual problems, I can beat it. After paying off a 400,000.00 loan that was needed to secure a house, it was paid back from sale in 3 months, thinking the loan was paid off we did not worry about it. A year later we find they did not close the account and had charged my 86 year old Dad 41,000.00. The money went into the payoff account but Washington Mutual did not close the account, why, we just can't figure this out and they won't admit any wrong doing. You would think that they would want to make this an easy fix, NO WAY, I have been talking to brick walls with the ethical reasoning of heartless unkindness. Father had secured the loan 3 days before major heart surgery and the escrow company took care of the payoff while he recovered. We just can't get the information across to them, they keep saying they are discussing the situation but get absolutely nowhere. I am afraid this will give him another heart attack. They really are trying to make this difficult, if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Up against a wall.
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WaMu Ripped Me Off For Almost $100!!! Transferred Money To Another Account Without My Approval
Posted by on
Let me begin with the fact that my daughter and I had a joint account since she was 17 (about 3 years ago). When she turned 18 and was going to college in Texas she got her own account with WaMu. I tried to take her name off the joint account but was told we would both need to come in to a branch to do that, well that's kind of difficult when she is in TX and I was in WA, so I asked if I could just close the account and get me another one and was told I couldn't do that either for the same reason. So we left things be.

Never had any problems until just recently when her account was overdrawn. WaMu decided to take everything I had in my account $94.54 and transfer it into her account without any prior notification or asking for my permission, they basically robbed me.

I didn't even know what had happened at first. I went online to see if a $75 check I had mailed had come out yet and instead I was horrified to see my balance at $0 and no the check had not come out yet. All it said was *Transfer Withdrawal* and the amount, not where it went or who approved this transfer. I called them immediately and after getting the runaround on their automated phone system I finally got to talk to a live person who informed me that their resolution center was now closed and I would have to call back in the morning. I spent a sleepless night waiting for 6am Pacific time so I could call them back. When I called them back, after I had to go through the spiel with the automated system again, I finally got a person on the line.

I explained the situation once more and asked what the heck was going on, why was all of my money taken out of the account? She told me it was because my daughter's bank account was overdrawn and since her name was still on my account they were allowed to take the money out of mine to put it in hers to bring her negative balance down. Well, I was outraged at that point and demanded to speak with a supervisor. She wasn't much help either, after I explained my situation yet again she just simply said that they were allowed to do this because my daughter's name was on the account. I told the lady that this was MY money and that my daughter hadn't done any transactions with this account for over three years. I also told her that I had two checks coming out that needed to be paid and would now bounce as a result of them taking my money.

It was obvious that the lady didn't give a hoot and informed me that if there was any checks that were going to be returned for insufficient funds I would get an insufficient funds charge of $34 for each one. Say what? They rob me of every penny I had and then they going to charge me another $34 ontop of it for bounced checks that shouldn't even be bouncing because I had enough funds in the account to cover them?

My daughter and I now both live in Idaho, so we went to the WaMu branch here to close the account. And guess what? They didn't need both of us, I was able to close the account just fine without my daughter's signature or even asking for her approval. When we questioned the clerk about this, she said I was given false information back in Washington when I first tried to either remove my daughter's name or close the account then. This whole situation could have been avoided if they would have let me take her off the account then.

The reason I closed this joint account is that I also have a joint account with my ex-husband and I don't want them taking money out of that account when my other one goes negative due to the insufficient funds charges, they could just do a chain reaction transferring funds. I have no idea what will happen with the bounced checks now either, one of them is for less than $5 and I'm sure they'll charge me another $34 insufficient funds fee for that one as well, bringing the grand total of the rip off to $162.54!

I'm not sure if they can legally do what they did but it certainly isn't very ethical. I feel like I was robbed and in a sense I was. I went on the FDIC website and filed a complaint with them. I don't know how much good it will do but if you do business with Washington Mutual aka WaMu BEWARE!!!!
     
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Anonymous on 2008-06-11:
What WaMu did is called Right to Setoff. There should be a section in your account terms and conditions that explains it so you not only should have known about it you also gave them permission by maintaining an account.

Your daughter owes you money and fees.

You ought to read through your account terms and conditions. You may be surprised at what else the bank is allowed to do.
Essentially, if an account holder owes the bank any money, they can withdraw those funds from any account that has their name on it whether they make deposits to it or not.
msnanny on 2008-06-11:
Robf is correct. It will be the same at most any bank you go to.
Anonymous on 2008-06-11:
Your heading should read "I raised an inconsiderate and irresponsible child and I am deeply offended that WAMU thinks she should take responsibility".
Anonymous on 2008-06-11:
Some lessons here.

1. Never ever have a joint account... Not even with your spouse or life partner.

2. Never do business with WAMU.

3. Try to keep your complaint to one page for us members with ADHD

Thanks and good review.
yoke on 2008-06-11:
Agree with you Ken. What did your daughter say when you asked her about paying you back?
cherpep on 2008-06-11:
I completely disagree with #1, Lois. My husband & I have been married 21 years - there is no 'his money' or 'my money', only OURS. It would make no sense for us to keep money separate, both our paychecks go into the pot, and our expenses are paid from that pot. We completely trust each other and live as true partners. It's sad that not everyone can live like that, but many of us can and thrive happily. Now, when's that wedding date?
Anonymous on 2008-06-11:
Well said, cherpep!
Anonymous on 2008-06-11:
Cherp -- Funny I hear the same thing from my fiancee. That's a sore spot but I still maintain joint accounts (checking, loans, credit cards, etc...) are a suckers play. What's in it for me other than being responsible for the actions of another. There will never come a day that you'll see my name on a joint account. But hey to each their own I always say.
Anonymous on 2008-06-12:
I would modify # 1... always have an account that is not joint, in addition to a joint account with the one you love. Often, when there is an untimely death, the joint account becomes frozen until probate. This can be a really bad situation if the only funds the survivor has are in that account.
Ponie on 2008-06-12:
Ken, 'the joint account becomes frozen until probate.' Not if the bank doesn't know of the death. Case in point: My cousin's husband killed by a drunk driver--instantly. 41 years old. Although difficult for her to hold her composure, the minute the bank opened she emptied (almost) the checking and savings accounts, along with the safety deposit box. I went along with her for moral support. And you are correct. Once they hear of the death of a joint owner, banks seem to assume the money belongs to them--until otherwise notified. Although my cousin had other assets available to her, had these been the only ones, her emotional state would have been even worse.
RoboKitten on 2009-01-29:
[KenPopcorn (06/11/2008)
Your heading should read "I raised an inconsiderate and irresponsible child and I am deeply offended that WAMU thinks she should take responsibility".]

I recent that statement, my daughter is very mature for her age and getting an overdraft on a bank account can happen to anyone. It occurred because a bill that is automatically withdrawn came out sooner than her paycheck was directdeposited. The fact remains that I was lied to by the WaMu employees who told me I couldn't remove her from my account without us BOTH being there. That was simply not true but at the time I didn't know any different. Had I been allowed to take her name off my account this whole situation would have never happened in the first place. And just so you know, my daughter DID pay me back for the money that WaMu took out of my account. This bank is very quick to give overdraft charges, other banks give you a grace period of at least 1 day to try to get money into a negative account to avoid an OD, not so with WaMu, unless you bring the account back to positive the same day it gets overdrawn you will get a $34 OD charge, wether it was for $2 in the minus or $50.
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Refusal to shut account down.....DON'T GO HERE
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PENNSYLVANIA -- I am so disgusted I don't know where to turn at this point. I had seriously contemplated posting this on here, but I really feel I am at a loss as to where to go next.

My husband opened an account with Washington Mutual last year. At the time, we decided that he open the account first and then I would be added later when I started my new job. Anyway, once it was time to add me, my husband had to write a letter stating it was OK to add me and in that letter I had to provide a copy of my photo drivers license and social security card (notarized) and send it to a main branch in NJ. We had done all of this and still they had not added me to his account even after several follow up phone calls with them saying it was the right procedure and someone who contradicted it. Ridiculous! So I opened my own account and made the funds transferable back and forth between my husbands account and mine. For a while all was going well. Since my husband is an over the road tractor trailer driver, I would monitor both his account and mine online from home. Within the first week of his employment following school, I noticed some very unusual bank activity being done that was not his. Along with the 3 letters in the mail of someone trying to get a cell phone and the banking going awry, my husband and I felt strongly he became a victim of identity theft and his banking information was compromised.

What started it was an unauthorized payment posted to his account from a company we do not deal with. Since he hadn't received a paycheck from his new job yet, this transaction put the account in the negative. I called the bank immediately to inform them of the transaction and that it wasn't him. I told him he's sitting in a tractor trailer with a trainer and has no access to any banking. They informed me that because I was not on the account, they could not talk to me NOR document the discovery I had made. Following that, I called my husband and informed him of the news. A few days later when he came home, he called the bank. This was the first week in June that this occurred and my husband called on June 8, 2007 to request that the account be shut down immediately or at the very least halt all transactions coming or going from the account. In the past 6 weeks, we have made additional phone calls and written statements demanding the account be shut down and they are REFUSING and are continuing to bill us for NSF and Overdraft charges of $32.00 per transaction. At the time we reported it, we were only in the negative by @ $50. To date, they have hit us with so many fees it has driven the account to nearly -$400. I can't get them to stop and they continue to refuse to shut it down. Is this legal? We have consulted a company attorney, but because my husband has not completed his 90 day new employee probation, his services are limited. We have no financial means to hire one ourselves. I am very fearful this will continue and we can do nothing. I don't know what to do. I have paper after paper of emails and responses from them claiming they are investigating it, but nothing happens and no one calls or gives any indication of an update. The account just continues to go further and further in debt. We even told them we referred it to an attorney and still they refused. No reason has been given as to why they refuse. This is robbery and they will come after me to pay this huge balance. I'm appalled and deeply upset by this. They will do nothing to protect their customers. One response I received states it takes 5 business days to conduct an inquiry to one of the transactions I questioned. When I got the response it had already been 2 wks since I inquired and to date, I have heard nothing. They can't even give my husband an update. No one calls, we can't get anywhere, they argue with us, very rude and will not help.

WHAT DO I DO??? I don't even know where this would fall under legal matters to look online. We have since stopped any money from being deposited into that bank and opened a new secure bank account that we share with no one. How do I fix this mess with WAMU? I will pay for what is truly ours, but I disagree that I should be penalized to pay any charges following June 8, 2007 when they were first informed it was compromised.
     
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Anonymous on 2007-07-24:
Contact the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). They oversee nationally chartered banks (I think WAMU is one). Also see if your state has a banking commission that may be willing to take your complaint(they usually only oversee state chartered banks). Do not bother with the BBB. They will do nothing for you.
steve101 on 2007-07-24:
Gather up all of your documents and both of you go into a bank branch and speak to the branch manager. You can't handle this problem over the phone. You will have a better chance to resolve this face to face than over the phone.
Anonymous on 2007-07-24:
That's my question, too. It doesn't sound like you've gone to the actual branch where you opened the account(s) and talked to a manager in person. You have the right to understand what is going on on your account, and from what I know, the bank is supposed to put a suspend on all account activity while under investigation. This is too complicated to try to figure out via email or phone calls.
Sunny71 on 2007-07-24:
Thanks for your advice to go to the branch, however Washington Mutual has two separate areas of banking. One is branch banking and the other is online banking. They are two separate areas and I cannot go to a branch to dispute my online account. Good thought though, but they don't get involved. I HAVE to call the 800 number and deal over the phone.
Sunny71 on 2007-07-24:
Since the account is in my husband's name, I have obtained a POA for this purpose as well, but it won't be limited to Pennsylvania. Just the part of it that another state wound not recognize since all states have their own POA. I'm determined to get this settled. They have yet again refused to shut the account down stating "account must be in zero balance". Well we are sure as hell not paying for fraudulent transactions. Absolutely ridiculous!
trumania on 2007-07-25:
Hey there, I used to work for WaMu and their fraudulent transaction investigations can take some time.

Firstly there are two types of account fraud that most people run into. ACH - Also known as direct debit (opposite of direct deposit) and then there is POS/ATM - point of sale, which are your MasterCard/debit card purchases.

On your WaMu account if it says MC- before the description it means it was a Mastercard charge (on your debit card) which can take up to 90 days for a resolution to be found, most of the time it does not take that long and the customer will most likely receive a "Provisional Credit" into the account until the investigation is complete. Depending on the outcome the credit will say there or if no fraud was found the credit will be removed.

ACH transactions take 5 business days to investigate and 1-2 days to be assigned to a investigator. So that's about 7 business days, almost 1.5 weeks. There are no provisional credits for ACH transactions.

The two areas of WaMu are actually the Branches and the ECC (Enterprise Customer Care a.k.a. Telephone Banking). If you notice a fraudulent charge you can still go into the branch to file a POS Dispute. ACH transactions actually have to be filed over the phone though. Paper Checks have to be filed over the phone through a department called Risk Operations.

If this all started out from a case of fraud it's likely, when confirmed, the actual transaction will be refunded as well as the fees. However, you do need to print out a copy of all the transactions and then call WaMu and tell them you would like to make sure you have filed a dispute for EVERY SINGLE transaction as well as ALL of the NSF/OD fees.

And the bankers are right. Bank policy and the computers will not allow them to close out an account with a negative or positive balance. The best thing you can do is stop using the account for any purchases (which I'm sure you have) and to stop having any deposits go in there because you're not going to see that money until the disputes are resolved.

Then go into the branch and have them place a "General Alert" on your account that says the account has been compromised. The Alert WILL NOT stop any transactions but it lets other bank employees know that you are having difficulty with fraud.

Also, if there is a dispute in investigation, you can not close the account. That actual account must remain open and there is usually a hold placed on the account to keep it open until the dispute is resolved. So telephone bankers will not be able to close the account for that reason as well.

To prevent any other charges from coming through make sure you have them close the debit Mastercard as Lost or Stolen to avoid any future charges from there. ACH there isn't really much you can do other than close the account which isn't an option.

If this information doesn't help you at all you can call the 1-800 number and ask for a manager. When you get a manager on the phone tell them you would like to request a Senior Manager Call Back in regards to the disputes you've filed. But... remember they won't be able to do anything if the 'timeframes' haven't elapsed on the disputes. They might just transfer you to Debit Card Fraud to see if they have any additional information.

Good Luck.
Sunny71 on 2007-07-25:
The account has not been used since June 22, 2007. We withdrew our money and placed it into a new bank account. Since then, it has grown in OD/NSF fees to what it is now. We don't the ATM for it any longer, it's been destroyed. They just keep hitting the account with these fees week after week. Mysterious bank inquiry fees keep popping up. I don't know who they are, but the card no longer exists so where it is coming from? I know it today's market, all they need is the card number and they can generate a card on their own using the numbers. Whomever it is keeps checking to see if we'll put money into it. Why would a bank not close an account with a "positive" balance? That doesn't make sense. We requested it to be closed shortly after all this happened. They just left it. We had no idea WAMU had a fraud department. We were never connected with one. Never got past the customer service department. Even the supervisors would argue with us. All we seem to get is rude behavior and no one can tell us anything. Whether it helps or not, I've written a letter to WAMU Corporate detailing the matter. I obviously need to go above their heads. There's no reason to keep hitting this account with fees. It's to the point where we just can't financially handle it. So I'm taking whatever drastic measure I can. Clearly their customer service is not hearing us.
trumania on 2007-07-26:
I understand you might have cut up your card, but if you did not have WaMu report it lost or stolen the card is technically still open. The computer systems would still show it as open. If someone did manage to clone you're card they can still use it because you never had the bank close the card itself.

Call up the 800 number and verify they did close the card as Stolen or Lost. If they did, ask them if there are any other cards assigned to the account. If there are not ask them to place a Debit/Credit Research request on those inquiry fees. Those fees would only be a couple of dollars each.

The way account inquiry fees work with WaMu, is if you check the balance on you're account you will be charged say $1 dollar. Well WaMu does not charge that to you on that transaction, they will actually add up all the Balance Inquiry fees for the month and will post them to your account at the end of your statement cycle. So if you stopped using your card before the cycle ended you could still be charged the fees from the start of the cycle until you stopped using the card. And then again, if who ever else might have your card if they're still using it.

You don't be charged any NSF/OD fees on any charges from the bank. For example, if there is a balance inquiry of $10 dollars (for say 10 balance checks) then you will NOT be charged the $30 dollar overdraft fee/non sufficient funds fee.

When you call them you can also ask them to warm transfer (meaning they stay on the phone and introduce you to another department) to.... I thin k it's Debit Card Services (dept. that deals with the ATM/Debit disputes) and then you can ask them if there is any status on the dispute you filed. What date is it set to close? (usually 90 days from filing) Do they require any additional information from you? Do you need to fax them any papers? Police report or anything like that?

This might help you get somewhere. There is only so much the customer service department can do because they don't have direct access to the information on any disputes. They have a standard response to wait for information in the mail and you'll get a letter with the outcome.

To get additional information they also have to call another department and wait on hold for that department. The sad thing is... the reason people are probably being rude and mean to you is because they know you have a HUGE problem. And if they stay on the phone any longer then an average of 2.5 minutes (150 seconds) with their customers then they are endangering their bonuses, their handle time, and their employee scorecards. An employee can get in trouble for constantly helping customers by staying on the phone for 20 minutes to help them sort out everything.

That's one of the primary reasons why I left and no longer work there. Bleh.

If I can help with any more questions email me at admin@theblogrevolution.com
Anonymous on 2007-08-02:
Washington Mutual customer service is in INDIA: the 800 number is answered in INDIA, the e-mails are from INDIA, the secure messages are from INDIA. Washington Mutual has LOUSY, HORRIBLE, and PATHETIC customer relations. Stay away from this bank.
Sunny71 on 2007-08-02:
They've sent me written confirmation that the card has been shut down. :)
Anonymous on 2007-08-03:
If you want to complain about Washington Mutual Bank, send your written complaint via certified return receipt to: Office of Thrift Supervision, Department of the Treasury, Consumer Affairs Department, P. O. Box 7165, San Francisco, California, 94120. In addition, send a written complaint to your State Attorney Generals Office, Attn: Consumer Affairs Department.
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Closing Accounts & Name Change
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PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- WAMU had me jump through so many hoops in order to officially change my name on an account, including filling out a form and having it notarized. Months after I did everything they required I do and that they stated was necessary for the name change on the account, I still find the old name on my account statements, on-line and on checks sent from my on-line account. In addition, I have requested to have an empty account closed and I followed the required steps to do so and then months later found that the account is still open! I have never dealt with such an inconsistent, unreliable, unprofessional, disorganized, disappointing, frustrating bank that no matter which steps one takes in order to achieve goals or who one talks to, NOTHING gets accomplished aside from going in circles and feeling extremely irate and frustrated. 10-15 years ago, this was a good bank. Since then, and especially in the past few years, it has had such a sharp decline in its management and customer service that it is just unbelievable and irreversible. Good luck JP Morgan to you and those that choose to actually stick around and give you a chance!
     
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They Are Robbing Our Family And Getting Away With Hit. Maybe Yours Too.
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CALIFORNIA -- Washington Mutual has it set up so that all the transactions of the day go though from the Highest to the lowest amt. on withdrawals.

by doing it this way they are able to receive more overdraft fees.
If I have a check for $250, $25, $10, $9, and $5 then they will withdraw the one for $250.

Supposing my acct. balance was only $245. By processing the check for $250 first then I will have an overdraft for that check and each one after that. If they were to process the smaller checks first I would only have one overdraft charge.
Another thing that they do is process all debits at the end of the day before processing any deposits. That way they will have overdraft charges taken before the deposit is made. Even though the debits and the deposits were made on the same day.

They are squeezing every penny out of us that they can. Let me know if you are experiencing the same thing at your bank. Does anyone know what can be done about this?

     
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tander on 2008-06-17:
I don't believe there is anything you can do, it shouldn't matter what checks or transactions come through first as you should have enough money in your account to cover them.
Anonymous on 2008-06-18:
Here is what can be done about it. Spend only what you have available in your account. Don't initiate transactions then run to the bank to make a deposit to cover it.
The bank is not robbing you. You are giving it to them freely by mis-managing your money.
madconsumer on 2008-06-18:
there is a new concept in banking, it is checks and balance, and only spending what is available. days of floating money is no longer possible.

what you were counting on, was you would be charged overdraft fees on a couple checks. no matter how you subtract it, you were spending money that was not yours.

I have been with bank of America for many many years, all with zero issues.
woodsk1 on 2008-06-18:
All banks take the highest check first. It is described in your terms of service/regulations. You had to agree to the service when you opened the aqccount, if you did not read it, that's your own fault. Too many whinners on this site.. Grow up and take some responsibility
yoke on 2008-06-18:
It should not matter what order the checks or when the debits are deducted. If you have the fund in your account to cover all transactions there would not be a problem.
yoke on 2008-06-18:
If you only had $245.00 in your account why would you write a check for $250 and get upset when the bank adds fees. In your example you had written checks for $299.00 and only had $245 in your account.
Anonymous on 2008-06-18:
It's a shame these mega-banks do everything in their power to extract as much money out of their customers as possible. There was day when the banker was your friend and neighbor but customer/voter apathy and a massive banking lobby is putting an end to all that.

lequisha you make an excellent point. Good info!
yoke on 2008-06-18:
It is a shame that people can not take responsibility when they are at fault. The bank has no control over people overdrafting their accounts. If you only have $245 in your account how is it the banks fault you wrote checks for $299 (that is before the fee's)? Maybe what the banks should do is stop charging the fee's and instead when you overdraft your account automatically close your account. Eventually the person who is overdrafting their account will have no place to bank.
Ponie on 2008-06-18:
'Let me know if you are experiencing the same thing at your bank.' No, I'm not. Biggest reason is I don't spend money I don't have.
CrazyRedHead on 2008-06-18:
Yes,there is a way you can stop this. You can keep a balance in your account so no matter how the checks come in you have the funds to clear them all. I don't have this problem at my bank since I keep an accurate checking register and I have the proper funds in my account to clear everything regardless of the order they come in.
MyDogsMom on 2008-06-19:
Supposing you don't write checks totaling more than you have in your account....oh wait, never mind. That would be silly!
foxybrown007 on 2008-08-28:
Yes! I feel your pain! They do it to me all the time and try and rake me with their fees!! And they always pull this garbage a day or two before I get my paycheck direct deposited into my account. Moreover, they dilly dally on posting transactions to my account. It once took them 8 days to post a 3.45 transaction to my account. The only reason they are open is because they make so much money off of people/families with their $34.00 insufficient fund fees. Worst bank I have ever seen or been with. Greedy SOBs. I am going in their tomorrow and taking out my money and raising hell. In the past year I have been there, they have charged me over $2,000.00 in fees!!!!
foxybrown007 on 2008-08-28:
And let me further add, they even take out fees on the same day I give them money! Now where's the concept in that?
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Don't be fooled by Washington Mutual
Posted by on
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I was sucked into the whole "free checking" "different kind of banking" hoopla that Washington Mutual advertised, and am now incredibly disappointed in the service I have received. I make a deposit, twice a month, from the same company (my employer), for the same amount. Recently, I made that same deposit, and for no reason whatsoever, Washington Mutual put a two day hold on my funds, which resulted in an NSF charge, which they told me they would not remove since it wasn't a bank error. That I would have to wait whatever time frame they imposed on check holds to use my funds. So, you get a checking account to better manage your money, and then aren't allowed access to it until they arbitrarily deem it ready. DON'T USE WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANKING!!!!! AND SPREAD THE WORD!!!!
     
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bill on 2004-08-23:
When you deposit a check, the funds are not immediately available. All banks work this way, not just Washington Mutual. You should always check your available balance before writing a check.
toilet on 2004-09-15:
YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE IN THERE KICKIN N SCREAMIN N PISSIN N MOANIN AND THAT SHOULD HAVE WORKED! IT DID FOR ME!!!
settingyoustraight on 2005-01-13:
as it is against the law to write checks before you have the funds in your account to pay them and you are notified of hold times on your receipt, why don't you place the NSF blame where it truley belongs, with you. with the new check 21 processing you are setting yourself up for a lot more fees if you continue with the illegal practice of floating. check your account rules and regulations and you will see you were provided with all of the information you needed to avoid this situation. Your bank is not to blame for your failure to read your account rules and your failure to follow the law, you are.
FighBack! on 2007-08-31:
To agree with "bhipp": you are correct, Washington Mutual does engage in the practice of HOLDING deposits and/or credits to accounts WELL BEYOND the average posting date for deposits/credits, and they do this to REAP the fees a consumer will subsequently have to pay to them. Many examples from current (soon-to-be ex) customers, as well as ex-customers, testify to this fact. Many testimonials, as well as class-action law-suits that can be found online as well as other places, reveal that a great percentage of Wamu customers who deposited checks at Wamu(with NO reasons to be held) as well as cash deposits, would not actually see their funds credited to their account until 21 DAYS LATER--if at all-- sometimes LONGER! and this bank would not provide a reason why! Of course, while these people were waiting for their funds to SHOW UP, they were punched with overdraft fees for other transactions that were made on the basis of their deposits. WHAT bank holds cash and/or check deposits for 21 d!@n days!!! WORM-U needs to be shut down!! (Example: I bank with Wachovia; my direct deposits, which is sent to my account from my employer by midnight, is credited to my account before the sun rises--always have been. and if I deposit a check, it's credited to my account within 48 hours (depending on day/time I deposit it) NOT 21 freakin' days later!!! Worm-U is the poster child for predatory banking/lending....
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Checking
Posted by on
The free checking is terrible, it takes the bank an average of 1 week to post a simple charge, and then you charge your card, and still that won't post until you have about four or five recurring charges on your card, and they charge you four or five NSF charges! It's absolutely ridiculous!
     
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Anonymous on 2008-12-19:
No...what's ridiculous is that you think it is the bank's fault that you overdraw your account. Banks have no control over when an item posts, it posts when the merchant submits it.
If you are keeping track of your balance in the register, it doesn't matter how long it takes because you'd have already deducted that purchase, and you would KNOW that you didn't have that money to spend.
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Not So Free Checking
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I opened an account a few ears ago and was told the checking account would be free if I transferred $25.00 a month into my savings account. For the passed few months I have not used my account accept to deposit a little money to maintain it. Come to find out... My savings account is now being charged $5.00 a month.

How free is that?
     
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Anonymous on 2008-09-22:
You said that you signed up for free checking, not free savings. Perhaps this is why you are being charged $5.00 a month?
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Washington Mutual charges unjustifed fee
Posted by on
CALIFORNIA -- I ran out of deposit slips for my Washington Mutual checking account.
Since I was able to deposit a check into an ATM without one, and this
deposit cleared, I did not really need to use deposit slips, but wanted
to get more as a courtesy to the bank personnel . The customer service
person I reached by telephone was either very new on the job, incompetent,
or distracted. The call took a very long time, as I was repeatedly told
that "the computer" was processing something or other. At no time was I
informed that there would be charge for deposit slips. I certainly never
would have paid for these items for which I personally get no benefit.

I was shocked to see a charge for $6.75 appear on my account statement
for 100 deposit slips. I called customer service again and was on hold
for fifteen minutes. Even though I explained that I had never given
permission to have my account charged, nor was this possibility ever
even suggested to me, the representative would do nothing. The response
was basically, "That's the way it is.".

No, it is not. A consumer is never responsible for paying any charge for
any item or service when the charge is applied after the fact.
Washington Mutual is totally responsible for denying me an opportunity to
decide whether or not to pay for deposit slips. I then tried to send a message
to customer service via the web site. The messaging system itself
is horrible. I managed to send a badly truncated message, but the response
was more of the same. Washington Mutual has yet to reverse this totally
unjustified charge.

     
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Anonymous on 2003-02-26:
Before you keep complaining, I would check the agreement between you and the bank when you opened the account and make sure that you didn't sign something that said that there is a fee for more deposit slips.
settingyoustraight on 2005-01-19:
so you though deposit slips were free? perhaps you should read your statemetn of fees to see you were asking for something that would have to be printed by an outside vendor. take responsibility for your lack of reading your account information. This is not the banks fault.
twebber on 2006-02-21:
Where did you ever read that they were free?
The fee schedule you are given states your exact amounts you will pay and you sign an account agreement stating you are aware, so how about actually reading the disclosures given to you at the bank?!?!?!
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